I don’t want my or anybody’s near-retirement parents and hard-up friends bailing out the banks and I don’t want to myself.
OK, they are an important part of our economy. Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much if they made the proportionate tax contribution that I willingly make.
But they don’t. Instead they withhold what rightfully belongs to the weak, the impecunious, the ill, the old, the young and the otherwise scraping-by. Morgan Stanley dodged $300m. Lehman Bros, $115m. Being financially inept (next year is going to be my personal Year of Economics – themed years seem to be the only way I can recoup the knowledge I failed to acquire during a dreamy, druggy, depressive youth) I’m not sure what kind of inter-governmental agreement it would take to change this but it seems to me that now, while the banks are nationalising their losses, is the time to impose some conditions on those greed-friendly fuckers in charge.
However, many governments squander taxes on misconceived schemes which breed an unwillingness to pay. Fraud and errors allowed to happen to the tune of £1.3b last year. Gordon Brown unforgivably started taxing the poor to subsidise the middle class. I don’t see why it’s so hard to get a breakdown, in an accessible form for noddies like me, like pie charts, of what my money goes on – including mistakes. I think that candidates should compete on this kind of thing at elections. You don’t get the impression there is much reverence for our earnings when it comes to spending them in the form of tax revenue – particularly council tax revenue. And I have been advised – by an Inland Revenue employee who I know – not to attempt to pay income tax on several hundred pounds extraordinary earning because, he says, they will fuck it up and I will have to sort it out, and for that amount it won’t be worth the grief. Indeed, I have found myself on emergency tax before and had to work hard to get a rebate. Indeed – unrelatedly – my employer seems to have made an mistake, not in my favour, with my new wages (post role evaluation) which I will have to check painstakingly and sort out myself. Like life isn’t short enough. Incidentally I’ve been wondering how many of these saved tax dollars from the world’s dodgers have been ploughed into philanthropic projects. I have heard though that the richest proportionately make the smallest charitable contribution, so maybe not much.
None of this is to say that we shouldn’t pay or should pay less. Definitely not. I would personally pay more in a progressive tax system (Well, to be honest, I am anti-capitalist – though we’ll see whether this holds up next year once I actually know a thing about it). Neither is it to give the parasites who are dodging any excuse. It’s just that I think the administration which is doing the collecting needs to constantly remind people what their taxes are worth to their society, and what withholding taxes is worth. As it is, it’s almost as if they think we are already convinced and trusted them. But if we were convinced and trusted them, we’d cough up, right?
This has been a naive post on taxation from a reckless blogger with a sprained / strained hip.